Constantius, Emperor of the East, may have been feeling quite pleased with his victories but the West was in a state of despair. Their loss against the usurper had forced a change in Ravenna. No more would they rely on allies, the West would be defended by Romans. With a new Patriarch, and an ambitious commander, the army moved back across the Border. However, the easy victory of the Ostrogoths over the Western Empire had encouraged their Western brethren, the Visigoths of Attaker.
Before the Western army had reached Bologna, the outriders of yet another barbarian enemy were evident. Burnt farms and fleeing peasants were once again the signature of a Gothic host. The Roman army would go no further East but rather turn to face the new enemy.
The centre of the avenging host would have been familiar to their grandfathers and their grandfathers, solid legionaries, armoured and matching the elites of old. Two cohorts of auxilia held the Roman left amongst the farmers’ fields. The heavy horse was equally divided between the wings. These were very different from their predecessors, not scouts but heavy horsemen on large horses. But could they hold the famous Gothic charge?
In support of the horse on the right, were two bands of Gothic foot, led by Ataker’s twin sons. They did not have the discipline of the Romans but they would not be found wanting in any clash.
Both contenders placed reliance on their auxillaries. The Alan horsemen drove off the uniform Sagittarii , getting behind the Roman light horse and impeding their retreat. In the field on the other side of the battlefield, the Gothic archers showered the advancing auxilia and equites from the hedgerows.
The Roman horse had to make a stand to protect the camp but the loss of their light cavalry meant that the Gothic charge could not be held. The Master of Horse fell in the melee. Now, the Visigoths were behind the Roman infantry line but the first wave of barbarians was being slaughtered by the legions.
The victorious Visigoth horse were now returning. Attacking from behind and on the flanks , the Visigoths were everywhere. Band after band of barbarian foot were being cut down but the flanks of the Roman line were lost.
The battle turned into a number of desperate melees but the tide had turned, the much vaunted Roman army of the West sought safety in Bologna. The Pariarch would not be happy. It would be a surprise if the bearer of such ill tidings did not suffer the wrath of the Patriarch and lose at least his nose. It took a brave man to bring bad news back to Ravenna.
Battle three in the campaign was a real nail biting game. That leaves my Visigoths outside Bologna and Dave’s Romans trapped within the city walls. Will Mike Lane’s Easterners and Chris’ Huns ride to the rescue or let them rot? Next campaign moves by end of August?